“I will not be lectured to!” – GCAA Director to operators
…in response to criticisms from industry stakeholders
By Jarryl Bryan
In the wake of several accidents and criticisms about his agency’s response, the Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has put his foot down, insisting that he will not be lectured to by operators in the field.
Citing his long background and experience in the field of aviation, GCAA Director General Egbert Field, insisted during a press conference on Thursday, that he had the Government’s support for what he was doing.
The retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) admitted that some of the criticisms from operators had merit and would be considered. But Field also insisted that he would continue to execute the Government’s mandate and not be side-tracked.
“This is not a knee-jerk reaction,” Field said, in response to one of the prevailing criticisms. “And this Director General, who has spent over 40 years of his life in aviation, who has traversed military, commercial and regulatory aviation, will not be lectured to by anyone in aviation. This Authority of well-trained individuals and this Director General will not be lectured to,” Field declared.
“We will listen to any constructive comments,” he went on to state. “There are a few comments that have been made lately by members of the industry, which do hold some soundness. And we will take that and embrace it. But we will not be lectured to,” he stressed.
Following a number of accidents involving shuttle flights, the Authority had announced a ban on all such flights. This ban was to allow operators to present the GCAA with their documented flight procedures and policies, for vetting.
But the ban was described by one operator as a knee-jerk reaction – one that would have an adverse effect on interior business. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Roraima Airways, Captain Gerry Gouveia had opined that instead of suspending operations, there needed to be increased operational control and oversight.
According to Gouveia, this includes monitoring of pilots’ on-duty times, the enhancement of search-and-rescue systems, as well as improvements to the runways and air safety training.
“I believe it (ban) was unnecessary. What this is doing is not hurting the operators, but the people in the hinterland; because these operations brought down the cost of living in the hinterland in Guyana tremendously,” he explained.
Gouveia said shuttling, which is basically short flights to transport goods and fuel between interior airstrips, does not cause accidents. “Pilots should obey and observe the same rules of flying, same technical operations of the plane, and same respect for safety altitudes,” he posited.
Meanwhile, it is understood that out of all the operators who submitted their documents, only Trans Guyana Airways was cleared by the Authority. According to Field, the documented flight policies of the other operators were returned in order to be updated. He stated that they were yet to be re-submitted.
The Director General also clarified that the ban was specifically placed on fuel and cargo and not the transportation of passengers. He also noted that while the other operators submitted their manuals as a group, it is required that they make their submissions individually.
When the ban was instituted, no specific period was given for it to be lifted, but Field had said he was hopeful the operators would submit their documents in a timely fashion. He had also revealed that some operators indicated that they were in the process of compiling those documents and would be submitting them either on the day of the ban or after.